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Physical Examination for Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism can affect many body systems. During a physical examination to find out whether you have the condition, a health professional may:

  • Weigh you, take your blood pressure, check your heart rate, and listen to your heart and lungs.
  • Examine your skin, nails, and hair. People with hypothyroidism may develop cool, dry skin and hair loss.
  • Examine your face, legs, arms, hands, and feet for swelling.
  • Check to see whether your nerves are functioning normally. This is usually done by tapping your elbow or knee with a small rubber hammer. People with severe hypothyroidism often have slow reactions (reflexes) when this is done.
  • Examine your thyroid gland to look for subtle changes in the way it feels and see whether it is enlarged. These changes may help your health professional determine the cause of the enlargement. A normal thyroid gland does not rule out the presence of hypothyroidism.
  • Check your vision and eye movements.
By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Matthew I. Kim, MD - Endocrinology
Last Revised July 16, 2010

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 16, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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